Controversy is afoot in the realm of Overwatch. A thread started on the game’s official forums used a quote from Game Director Jeff Kaplan that was sourced from a completely separate article. That thread spawned pages and pages of angry feedback before Kaplan finally responded.
I’ll save my interpretation of this exchange for the end of this post, so let’s start with the facts. Kaplan was recently interviewed by Game Informer. The choice quote for that thread of frustration came from this question and answer, which I present in its entirety.
Is there the possibility that, as characters get added to the game, older ones could be retired from the roster?
We would leave the door open to that. I think the fact that we chose the business model we did – that the game comes with all the heroes and we’re giving you everything [extra] for free so far – allows us to retire a hero without feeling bad about it. But I think we have a long way to go before heroes will need to be.
One of the other nice parts about our business model is that we’re not dependent on releasing a new hero to keep development going. That means that we don’t have the pressure to release heroes when it might not be the right decision for the game; we’re able to release heroes when players are ready for something new or it’s right for the meta to shift a little bit. We don’t have to do it just because we’re trying to push the business model forward.
Players took issue with the notion that Blizzard could potentially retire heroes from play. That went on for pages and pages of forum posts. Kaplan stepped in and said exactly this:
We don’t have any plans to retire any heroes. The interviewer asked if there was a possibility that this could ever happen and I “left the door open”. The original poster in this thread did not even link to the original article but rather to an article quoting the article in question.
We’re not even remotely thinking about retiring heroes right now or anytime in the foreseeable future.
I think this thread is making a mountain out of a molehill.
I don’t think Kaplan misspoke in the initial quote. In fact, he never says that in his response on Battle.net. I think Kaplan provided the answer to Game Informer‘s question in his typically open nature. He more or less said “never say never” when it comes to retiring heroes. The dagger in the community’s heart, though, comes from the bit about Blizzard being able to “retire a hero without feeling bad about it.”
That bit stings.
When put on the spot, it makes sense to me that Kaplan would not deny the possibility of retiring heroes. The way he said it, mistake or not, implied that Blizzard’s created heroes with the intention of one day removing them. I don’t think that’s the case, but that’s how it reads.
What do you think? Mountain out of a molehill?